Event Date:
Nov 09, 2007
Content Type: Professional Development Event

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An OTREC report from Oregon State University looked at various center median and bicycle lane configurations, and how they affect traffic at road access points.

In the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) publication A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, commonly known as the Green Book, access points include the intersections of public roads as well as driveway locations. In the Green Book, most of the supporting research for the spacing of driveways is based on standard highway design procedures. They include simple human factors and geometric principles, and have not been thoroughly evaluated based on a variety of road cross section configurations.

Principal investigator Karen Dixon of Oregon State University sought to close this research gap by evaluating the influences of select cross-sectional-related design elements, specifically median configurations and bicycle lanes, on driveways.

Dixon's research team evaluated eight physical sites and four simulated scenarios with different driveway spacing and roadway cross section designs. The primary research goal...

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Oregon State University’s student ITE chapter is the reigning Western District ITE chapter after taking the Student Chapter Award at the district’s annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. The award honors the outstanding chapter for the entire 13-state region, which encompasses 34 student chapters.

The award marks a quick turnaround for a chapter that was dormant a few years ago. Faculty adviser Karen Dixon restarted the chapter when she arrived at Oregon State in 2005. “Another professor, David Hurwitz, came from an active chapter and shared insights he had as a student,” Dixon said. “That helped give us that push.”

Applying for the honor requires a thorough accounting of all the chapter’s activities, Dixon said. “You have to document every tiny thing.”

And having a lot to document was one of the reasons Oregon State won the award, said student chapter President Lacy Brown. “We did a lot of activities out in the community,” Brown said. “A lot of outreach to other students on campus who weren’t necessarily in our chapter.”

The chapter brought in speakers from private consultants and public agencies, took field trips across the state and attended conferences in the Northwest and beyond, including the Transportation Research Board...

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By one count, nearly one in five crashes on city streets is related to driveways. Despite this, driveway design has attracted little attention in transportation circles until recently.

Jim Gattis wants to change this. Gattis, a University of Arkansas engineering professor, shares some of the lessons of his research in a visit to Oregon May 16 and 17 as an OTREC visiting scholar.

While the needs of different road users sometimes conflict, a smart design often can accommodate all users without much, or any, inconvenience. “If you look to design guidelines years ago, they were assessed solely from the needs of automobile drivers,” Gattis said. “But pedestrians and bicyclists also have to cross driveways. And pedestrians with disabilities of sight, or who are in wheelchairs, have their own problems, many of which can be easily remedied with alternative practices that are no more onerous to design or construct.”

No one sets out to design a bad driveway. “I would guess that somebody just didn’t think about it; it didn’t cross anyone’s mind,” Gattis said. "Design practices that make the roadway easier for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to navigate fall into the category of observing how traffic operates and applying common sense to it.”

Gattis himself hadn’t always considered...

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With the Oct. 1 new year comes a new slate of OTREC-funded projects. This year, we support 24 projects, worth $2.2 million -- the most in our history.

That total includes 20 research projects, three education projects and one technology transfer project. A few highlights:

  • Economic Benefits of Cycling (Kelly Clifton, Portland State): Unlike previous isolated studies that have focused on recreational cycling, Clifton's project seeks to gauge the total economic benefit to business owners from cycling and investments in bicycle infrastructure.
  • Durability Assessment of Recycled Concrete Aggregates (Jason Ideker, Oregon State): The use of recycled concrete in new concrete has been slowed by a lack of evidence on its durability. Phase II of this project will address that gap and recommend best practices for use of recycled concrete.
  • Livability Performance Metrics for Transit (Marc Schlossberg, University of Oregon): This multi-campus, multi-discipline project examines the performance of transit agencies at the regional and neighborhood levels in meeting livability goals.
  • Influence of Road Cross Section on Access Spacing (Karen Dixon, Oregon State): This project seeks to understand how the spacing of...
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Faculty from all four OTREC partner campuses participated in the 2008 Northwest Transportation Conference at Oregon State University February 5-7. Under the theme of "Making the Most of What We Have: Innovations for the 21st Century," faculty served as session moderators and as roundtable members for a variety of topics. Portland State University attendees included Jennifer Dill, Peter Dusicka, Miguel Figliozzi, Hau Hagedorn, Chris Monsere, Tony Rufolo, Kristin Tufte and Brent Zenobia. University of Oregon faculty attending were Nico Larco, Marc Schlossberg and Yizhao Yang. Faculty from Oregon State University included Karen Dixon, Chris Higgins, Starr McMullen, Todd Scholz, Michael Scott and Lei Zhang. OTREC Associate Director Roger Lindgren from the Oregon Institute of Technology also attended. More information about the conference and program sessions: NWTC.

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The Region X Consortium held its fall meeting in Seattle on October 15-16. Representatives from UTCs (OTREC, AUTC, TransNow, NIATT) and state DOTs (ODOT, WSDOT, ITD) attended the bi-annual meeting to discuss regional collaboration for transportation research and education efforts. Agenda items included further discussion of a Region X Memorandum of Understanding that would allow for pooled-funds with which the Consortium will sponsor major research projects from a regional needs perspective. TransNow hosted the meeting and led discussions on freight, infrastructure, and traffic operation research. Hau Hagedorn gave an OTREC update and faculty participants from Oregon included Chris Monsere and Peter Dusicka from PSU and Chris Higgins and Karen Dixon from OSU.

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Prof. Monsere, PSU and Prof. Dixon, OSU, participated in the mid-year meeting for the TRB Task Force for the Highway Safety Manual, ANB25T, on August 20-22, 2007. The meeting included presentations, working sessions, sub-committee work, and social events at the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering’s Beckman Center on the University of California Irvine campus.